Every year the Chemers Gallery in Tustin has a Children's Book art show with several, talented illustrators and all kinds of activities to go along with it, something I look forward to every year.
With all I have going on this year, I was planning on skipping it. But when I found out that Chris Sheban was one of the illustrators, I HAD to go!
Chris Sheban has been a huge inspiration to me as an illustrator. Actually, his art is one of the main reasons I wanted to illustrate children's books in the first place! I saw one of his books in the store and I fell in love with his elegant, soft style. So much so that I wanted to copy it. I went searching online and contacted him via email, and to my pleasant surprise, he answered! He told me all about his technique and process and was very encouraging. That was when I got started on my colored pencil style.
Unfortunately, for various reasons, I decided to switch to acrylic, but that's another story for another time.
So when I got to the gallery last weekend, I somehow found the courage to talk to Chris and made a sad attempt to tell him how much of an inspiration he has been to me and how much I love his work. Of course, he was very kind and friendly and was so glad to meet me. He did a short presentation on his process which I found very interesting. He is very low-tech (no Photoshop!) and works very slowly. About 1 book a year (I sure wish I had the privilege of only having to do one book a year!) He starts off with a dark blue water color wash for the background and adds colored pencils in to build up the lights.
It was SUCH a delight to finally be able to meet one of my favorite illustrators and someone who has influenced me so much. I hope to keep in touch with him via email and maybe I will see him again someday at a SCBWI event! (I tried to convince him to become a member...it's didn't take much convincing...)